Church and the Orphan Crisis–“Take Care of Yourself”
Now wait a minute – take care of yourself?
How is that supposed to be a way for the church to make a difference in the orphan crisis. Let me tell you a couple things:
- I have yet to hear of a church that doesn’t have at least one family that has adopted, is fostering, is thinking about adopting or is somewhere in the process of doing so.
- Adopting is hard work. It’s different. I was talking to an adoptive grandma yesterday and we both agreed that while biological kids don’t come with any guarantees, adopted kids almost always come with more “baggage” so there is a greater chance that things will be different, more challenging and harder.
- Parenting adopted children, due to the special challenges they have and the things they have been through, often requires parenting techniques and mindsets that are totally different from parenting “bio” kids. Most people won’t understand that last sentence. Most people won’t get the concept.
Because of those things, being an adoptive parent is very often a lonely journey. It’s hard because your friends want to understand but they don’t. Your family wants to understand but it’s too complex for them to get “it.” Your friends drift away because you can’t do some of the same things you used to be able to do.
So, church, take care of your own. Reach out to adoptive parents. make a concerted effort to understand. Help them feel comfortable in expressing their needs.
Think outside the box. Ask questions – virtually all of the adoptive parents that I know are very passionate about adoption and are very willing to talk about the struggles and the beautiful things that are happening in their children.
Take care of yourself. Take care of all of the members of your church – but especially take care of those who have felt God calling them to extend an open arm of love to an often hurting and challenged child.
It’s God’s call to the church. It’s one way that you can follow God’s call to care for the orphans and the widows (James 1:27).
P.S. I’m in the beginning stages of writing a series of e-books about adoption, particularly international adoption and things various parts and parties to an adoption should know – parents, siblings, church, grandparents and aunts and uncles and more. Stay tuned for more info and the first book – hopefully before Christmas.